'We live in squalor' - Ennerdale residents

2017-05-11 20:46
A family of 27 live in backyard dwellings in Ennerdale. (Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

A family of 27 live in backyard dwellings in Ennerdale. (Lizeka Tandwa, News24)

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WATCH: Ennerdale community split over protests

2017-05-11 11:36

Parents from Ennerdale have gathered outside Mid-Ennerdale Primary school after protesters in the area reportedly threatened to burn the school.WATCH

Johannesburg – Leone Constable, a 38-year-old Ennerdale resident, knows no life other than squalor.

The mother of three says her family has lived in a two-bedroom home for decades. She and her family, like many people in the area, have had to build shacks in their backyards to accommodate growing families.

On Thursday, Constable said she was fed up. She said her family of 27 was living in filth. They had to share a broken toilet. They lived in a small house surrounded by four shacks, which at times housed seven people, she said.

“It’s not healthy. It makes me feel angry. No one is here for us,” she said.

“The only thing we can do is to strike. They (government) never build up Ennerdale. We live with so many Zozos (shacks) in one yard.”

Another woman living about a kilometre from Constable said she understood why people in the area were protesting, but she did not support violence.

She had been struggling to find a job for almost two years. She identified herself only as Neesa.

“We survive on grants. Our family lives in unlivable conditions. It’s inhumane. What makes me frustrated is that government doesn’t care to listen. No one cares about us because we are so far from them. They are not ashamed to stay in their beautiful homes while we live in poverty because they are not forced to see it every day,” she said.

'Struggling to find work'

Neesa said her son passed matric with “flying colours” last year, but was struggling to find a job or get into university.

“He made it through testing times. Some days we lived without food, but my son persisted and studied without electricity. It’s painful to a parent when your children struggle. My family will never leave this place. My children and my children’s children will die in this area because no one cares to help.”

She was building a double-storey shack for her children because the plot they were living on was too small.

Protests flared in the area on Monday as residents demanded housing. Roads were blocked and shops looted. Some residents said they no longer supported the protest because of criminal elements.

Acting police commissioner Lieutenant-General Khomotso Phahlane told journalists during a visit to the area on Thursday that most protest hot spots, including Eldorado Park and Laudium in Pretoria, were calm.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  protests  |  housing

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